Working out during pregnancy has always been a priority for me. While working out with a bump can come with its own challenges, perhaps the biggest challenge has been dressing the growing belly for working out. If you are like me at all, then your belly won’t be the only thing doing some growing. This means that for many of us wearing our old gear that we spent so much cash on won’t work for the entire 40 weeks.
During my last pregnancy I didn’t do a ton of running after 27 weeks since I was so uncomfortable while running. I felt like baby boy was permanently parked on my bladder during every run and had lots of ligament discomfort. I mostly opted to keep my workouts to yoga, walking, using the elliptical machine and hiking as I entered my third trimester. Because I wasn’t running hardly at all in the third trimester I was able to get by with sizing up in a few items, but it was not enjoyable. This time around I’m still very much running and sizing up is quickly not working.
If sizing up works for you then feel lucky. You will save so much money. Put the word maternity on a clothing item and the price increases dramatically. At Old Navy, for example, they recently had a shirt for the whole family deal. All shirts for baby, toddler, kid, teen, mom and dad were $5. The maternity style of the same shirt was $15. They’ve got us pregnant mommas trapped. We know we can stuff ourselves into a bigger size, but we likely won’t look good or feel good doing it. They know we will (likely) spend the money to buy the shirt in maternity. Trapped!
When I feel uncomfortable with what I’m wearing or don’t like how I look in something I’m wearing, not only am I more likely to not do whatever it is that is making me wear this gear, but I’m much less likely to enjoy or want to do that activity again. If my shorts are constantly riding up or I look ridiculous on the run or my belly is hanging out, I’m much less likely to want to run again in general. This pregnancy I knew I needed to try something other than just size up in a shirt or shorts.
Several people have asked me what I wear during pregnancy workouts, so I’ve decided to share with you all what has worked for me this pregnancy. Everything I’m sharing with you has been wear tested. I’ve run in it, walked in it, yogaed in it, barre classed in it, 21 day fixed in it. You get my point, and I’ve went into detail. If you don’t have time for that see my to the point comment under each link. If you are not pregnant, but might be someday and want to workout during, file this post away until you see that positive sign.
I will be honest that some of my ideas involve spending some extra money, but in my experience with maternity active wear you pay for what you get. There just isn’t a way around this all the time. I have also been successful in finding a few ways to save money, too. Please keep in mind every pregnant body is different. While something might have worked for me, it may not for you. I do feel my recommendations will work for most women.
Get ready for lots of selfie photos as I feel this is the best way to “show” how these pieces wear. You’ll also notice some things that don’t fit my life’s priorities right now like making my bed, putting away laundry in a timely fashion or washing mirrors. So what do I recommend in order of my favorites?
#1-For Two Fitness
You pay for what you get-cute, extremely flattering and excellent fit. You won’t regret your purchases and will find yourself wanting to wear these pieces all the time.
After running a half marathon at 16 weeks. Shorts-Lululemon Speed Shorts
During my last pregnancy I looked at this company’s website so many times. I was torn between the prices and if I was a dork to wear a shirt that said running for two. This time around I realized I don’t care if I’m a dork and there is a reason they can charge $45 for a tank top and stay in business. Their workout gear is a bit pricey, but is AMAZING! I bought a running for two tank to start off with using a 20% off coupon code I got for signing up for their emails in April. At this point I barely had a bump, but despite this it still fit comfortably. The material was so soft and didn’t ride up in an annoying way despite my nearly bumpless physique. They also make solid color tanks if the writing and feet are not your style.
After running a 5 mile race at 24 weeks pregnant. Shorts-Oiselle Distance Shorts
Now that I am 27 weeks I can say I love the tank equally if not more. It continues to fit comfortably (no tight stretching across the belly) and does not ever ride up. It is super soft and has held up with repeated washings. I also can’t believe how flattering the fit is. I’m confident this tank will still fit me during the remainder of my pregnancy. I was so confident in their fit and style that I bought another tank (in the same size-small) that says sweating for two and two different bottoms.
Shorts-Oiselle Distance Shorts
The bottoms I purchased are meant to last through both summer and fall. I purchased both the Inspiration Maternity Running Shorts and the Distance Maternity Capri. The Inspiration Maternity shorts are comfortable (they ride up occasionally when I wear my maternity belt and I don’t have it positioned right) and offer a full panel that can be folded under the belly, worn mid-belly or full panel. Despite the panel, it is soft and flattering and even seems to offer some support.
Bottoms-For Two Fitness Inspiration Maternity Running Short Top-Lululemon Back on Track Tank
The Distance Maternity Capri is super flattering, doesn’t ride up or move while working out and also offers a full panel that can be folded down as you like. I purchased both bottoms in a small. I think I may have been able to buy XS, but having an entire trimester left I feel buying the small was the right way to go.
Bottom-For Two Fitness Distance Maternity Capri
Top-Lululemon Back on Track Tank
After wearing all of these items I can honestly say they are all super flattering, comfortable and bring nearly zero annoyance while working out. On a run the last thing I want to think about is what my workout clothes are doing. For Two Fitness is an example of you get what you pay for-quality, good fit and flattering. If you watch their facebook page and Instagram feeds you should be able to find coupon codes ranging from 20-30% off from time to time. New orders from customers can also receive 20% off their first purchase when you sign up for their emails. I never paid full price for my items.
#2-Buying used and in a size up on Ebay
Such a cute and affordable way to dress the bump while working out…if you know your size.
Top-Lululemon Tame Me Tank Bottom-C9 Champion Running Skirt from Target
I know I said no to sizing up, but hear me out. To balance out the more expensive purchases I made from For Two Fitness I took a chance that has really worked for me during this pregnancy. I have a few styles of Lululemon tanks that I just love and that are more flowy, yet flattering. These tanks have a sports bra top for extra support you’ll need as the ladies grow along with your belly and an elastic adjuster that can be tightened at the waist that I felt would really grow and flatter a pregnant bump without looking like I was working out in a small tent top. I figured if I went up a size or two these tanks would both allow for more room in the chest and the belly.
Because I had no idea if this would work or not, I did not want to shop Lululemon’s-We Made Too Much section (not returnable) or spend full price on Lulu that might not fit. Then it dawned on me…Ebay. I had not used my Ebay account in some time, but I logged in and searched for a couple of styles that I knew I loved because I own them already and are there fit is flowy (specifically Back on Track Tank and Tame Me Tank), but flattering (sports bra and elastic adjuster at waist). Having two different sizes of the tanks already at home I knew that both tanks allow some flexibility in sizing, but decided to go up two sizes from the largest size I had to make sure these tanks would still fit me in the final days of my pregnancy.
After doing a search on Ebay I found dozens of the tanks I was thinking would work available to bid on. I placed a few bids and won a couple of tank tops. With shipping I paid $21 and $27 for the tanks I won compared to paying $50 some from the clearance Lululemon section or $60+ for new. Since pregnancy lasts a short time I just could not justify buying brand new Lululemon that I hope to never need to wear long-term. Both the Tame Me and Back on Track Tanks (see For Two Fitness section for photo) will work awesome for hiding the postpartum belly, too.
The best part is, my plan worked out perfectly. I love the fit and how flattering both tanks are. I might have been able to just go up one size, but I wanted to make sure these would fit comfortably in the final days of pregnancy and when the breasts are extremely large postpartum. If you’ve never shopped Lululemon before, then buying these tanks used might be a gamble when guessing your size, but I feel they run true to size normally. You might also consider looking up your favorite loose workout brand on eBay and buying up a size or two. I may or may not have a few more bids going right now for more Lululemon in a size or two bigger. Their workout gear is just so adorable and flattering that it is almost impossible not to love.
#3-Abundant Heart (Tops)
Fun, comfy and cute tanks you will look forward to wearing during pregnancy and postpartum. Not likely to fit during the third trimester.
I couldn’t find a full bump photo in one of their tops, but the above photos show me postpartum after my last pregnancy and how the fit changed as I got back to my pre-baby shape.
I have loved, loved, loved Abundant Heart tanks since I learned about them from other bloggers and the fit ladies I follow on Instagram. Their tanks are not maternity, but the burnout tanks run a little big/long and are stretchy. This little bit big allows them to fit comfortably when you are not expecting and gives you the first two trimesters worth of expanding belly to still wear them.
Postpartum these are so soft, the sayings motivating and the fit flattering. These tanks would be a great addition to your maternity workout wardrobe early on and something to look forward to wearing after baby, too. Make sure you select a burnout fit style if you are looking at wearing these during pregnancy or postpartum. The other styles are not as forgiving or as stretchy. This is another great company to follow on social media for coupon codes! I’ve never paid full price for their shirts.
#4-C9 Champion Running Skirts
Add some fun to your pregnancy workout wardrobe. Great fit and flattering. Awesome for after baby, too.
I love running skirts for the fit and cuteness factor. They are one of my favorite gear choices to run in AND they look great running errands or chasing a toddler. They made it on to my maternity running gear list because I feel they can be more flattering and forgiving than shorts to the growing pregnant body. Since they come with shorts underneath you have the coverage of shorts, but a skirt to smooth out your shape and it allows for hips and thighs to expand without the tight waist bands that can cut in and the restriction of leg holes.
Bottom-C9 Champion from Target Top-Old Navy Activewear
Most of my regular sized running skirts still fit at 27 weeks pregnant and a couple I went up a size in last summer when I was searching for running clothes to wear postpartum are working great during pregnancy, too. Most of my favorite skirts are from the Target C9 Champion line which makes them affordable, too. Two styles similar to the running skirts I own include the C9 Champion Women’s Skort and the C9 Champion Women’s Woven Skort. If you’ve not considered yourself a running skirt person, don’t count these out until you try them. You might surprise yourself.
#5-Forever 21 (Tops)
Inexpensive tops that you might have to try on in multiple sizes to get the fit and comfort you want. Be prepared for a few to work and a lot to not, but what you do find you have a good chance of loving.
No, you did not read this wrong. Yes, Forever 21 is an often cheaply made teen store. I have not lost my mind. When you are looking for workout clothes that will last a short time, sometimes you look in unusual places. Last summer I was postpartum and trying to fit my ever-changing body with anything that looked flattering, was comfortable on the run and didn’t cause any wardrobe malfunctions. Oh, and the price couldn’t cut into my diaper budget. Somewhere, somehow I found Forever 21. I was quickly shocked at the quality and how their workout gear has held up over the past year.
There workout clothes run small as they are a juniors store (mostly their bottoms which I’m not a huge fan of in general). When shopping here forget about the size and go with fit. While some of their gear is hit or miss, I found some pieces last summer that worked great and are still in my running clothes rotation even as I’m about to enter my third trimester. I went with looser tank tops to hide the belly which has helped them work during pregnancy. Similar tanks include the Active 2-in-1 Space Dye Tank and the Active Shadow Stripe Muscle Tank (you might want to layer under this one). Because the clothing is so, so affordable you could even consider buying a style in more than one size if needed to last you your entire pregnancy.
#6-Old Navy Active Wear
Appearances can be deceiving. What looks cute and comfy on may perform differently. An extremely affordable, but hit or miss brand of active wear. Some pieces you will love and others you will hate.
Bottom-Old Navy Activewear Top-Basic tank from Target
I mentioned Old Navy for their maternity clothes in a post I did about my Summer Maternity Clothing Favorites earlier this month. My biggest issue with Old Navy is the fit is inconsistent. I did not like the fit of their maternity shorts, but the capris were ok. I believe some people may love them both though.
One of the best features of their clothes is they are cute and affordable. The price on these is hard to ignore, but I’ve learned the hard way if it doesn’t really fit, then no deal is worth it because you will never feel comfortable or confident in what you are wearing. I also feel their active wear has the look of being active, but not the quality or wearability to hold up to intense exercise. If you are looking for cute athletic wear without actually working out much, it might be great for those comfy days or going for a walk. The shorts above are one of my favorites to wear around the house or running errands.
So after that why would I recommend Old Navy Activewear? Two reasons:
1) You will likely need postpartum workout clothes. After having baby number one I found that the clothing items I sized up in surely didn’t last me my entire pregnancy, but were the only things I found to fit in the early weeks after baby. Having something that fit got me out walking and running with some confidence when I would not have had the time or energy to shop for myself.
Top-Old Navy Activewear Bottom-Nike Tempo Short
I also put Old Navy as #5 because I did size up one size from my regular top and short size in their regular Active Wear collection and have found some success. The shorts tend to ride up, but the tanks are working ok for now. Both are cute which buys them some credit in my book. In another month I believe I will have phased out both the tops and bottoms, but again I know they will be used postpartum.
Top and Bottom-Old Navy Activewear
2) What kind of exercise you do determines what kind of gear you need. If you are not a runner and prefer walking or elliptical or lifting or hiking or 21 Day Fixing then this workout gear is likely perfect. You don’t have a need (as much) for items to not ride up or stay in place during workouts because your activity of choice will not move clothing around like running does. If you don’t need to spend the money on specific gear, then I would for sure recommend trying their Old Navy Maternity Activewear and/or sizing up in their women’s activewear. I currently save what I do have from Old Navy for short run days as it is not comfortable for my pregnant runs more than 3 miles. My shorts work great for a walk and ride up constantly on a run.
#7-Sizing up in your favorite gear.
Good luck! Some brands and styles this will work and others will not. Sometimes you will try this route to save money and it will be less than flattering, but nonetheless still an option.
Sizing up in my first pregnancy. Can you tell it was winter?!
Again, I don’t recommend this idea overall. I always want it to work, but as I mentioned already this is a temporary fix. During trimester two going up a size in my Nike Tempos and Old Navy Activewear helped me out this time around, but these are quickly losing their comfort and fit.
Top-Abundant Heart Bottom-Oiselle Distance Short
I do have some lower rise shorts (Oiselle Distance Shorts and Lululemon Speed Shorts and Run Times) that I have been able to continue wearing in my prepregnancy size. I know this is likely temporary as my hips and thighs seem to expand and grow along with the bump. I don’t mind buying up a size in a few items I like because anything you size up in will probably be your go to gear in those first postpartum weeks and months so it is not a total waste.
If sizing up stops working for you, then don’t be afraid to buy some real maternity workout gear. I’m so glad I did and really regret not doing so last time around. My suffering was not necessary. By mix and matching new and used along with maternity wear and sizing up you can find a comfortable, cute and affordable workout wardrobe to last you through all the pregnant miles, workouts and postpartum.
Any maternity workout clothes you love? Let me know! I’m sure I missed some great brands and styles.